1. Keep your resume to one page if at all possible. You don't have to cram in every single club you paid your dues in if that's, say, ten, or list any awards the reviewer won't understand. Often your resume will need a one-page cover letter; click here for advice on cover letters.
2. Use action words to describe what you did for any jobs or other activities. See some examples. To see how this works, check out our sample resume.
3. Find a way to work in anything that's really impressive, whether it's a course in public speaking, a computer skill you've picked up, or something you've done in volunteer work. Courses can be listed under Education, computer skills in a special section, volunteer work under "Leadership Experience" or something similar.
4. Let your resume make a good first impression. Use heavy, high-quality white or off-white paper and a laser printer. Find an attractive format, with white space in between each section and each activity or job.
5. Don't lie. You'll get caught. If you say you know, for instance, Microsoft Excel and you really don't, what will you do when your boss asks you to prepare a spreadsheet? If you lie about a job, what will you do when the interviewer wants to call your supervisor? This is not to say that you don't cast yourself in the best possible light, but there's a fine line you shouldn't cross.
6. Don't end it with "references available upon request." They know you'll give them your references if they ask. Have at least three references ready, and make sure you ask people you'd like to list for their permission.
7. Have other people review your resume for you, preferably including a professional like a Career Services counselor.
8. Proofread! If your resume has a typo, it's going straight into the trash bin (and there are companies involved with detail work like editing that tack up resumes with typos on a bulletin board so they can laugh at them).
The reviewer will think if you make a mistake in something so important (and fairly short), you probably make a whole lot of mistakes with ordinary things. Have the people who read your resume for you check as well-some typos are easy to miss.
9. Put your most important points forward. Chances are your resume will not be read in its entirety before being thrown into one of two piles. Make sure what's most impressive comes first in each section, so that it's more likely to be read.
10. Don't use pronouns. Make your sentences short and punchy and start them with action words. Instead of, "I researched possible locations for an annual trip," say, "Researched locations for annual trip."